Lakeside senior Karen Barrientos was only the second Dragons girls runner to make it to the state meet and she didn’t waste the opportunity.
Competing in Division I, Barrientos finished 44th, the top finisher for any girl in the Star Beacon coverage area.
“I thought she ran well,” Lakeside coach Christina Powers said. “The conditions were really windy when she ran, there was a strong head wind and the course was pretty much open except for some wooded areas. Yesterday was fairly dry but we got some rain overnight so it was a little soft.
“I thought she did a real good job. They go out pretty quickly here at the sate meet. She got out and got into position, held her own. I was very pleased.”
Also in Division I Madison’s Hilary Reigle finished 71st. The Blue Streaks junior ran a 19:37.76.
In Division II, Geneva junior Emily Deering placed 47th with a time of 19:52.70.
Rounding out the girls competition was Grand Valley’s Jessica Finley. The Mustangs sophomore was making her second-straight trip to state and ran a 21:14.80 (111th place).
For Powers, Barrientos’ race was a nice way for her career to end.
“I tell you what, Karen came to me my first year of coaching and we’ve been together for three years and it’s been an honor for me to coach her,” she said. “Like any athlete, she had to work through some things and it took three years to figure out what worked for her in her racing and training and she really came into her own. She worked at it this year.
“She had goals she wanted to meet and she set her mind to it and decided she was going to do it. She’s great to work with and very coachable. She makes my job easier.”
Powers hopes and believes Barrientos’ strong finish will be a springboard to other runners from Lakeside following in her footsteps.
“She’s only the second Lakeside girl to ever make it down and there’s never been a boy so I think it helps the program,” she said. “I think we’ve taken a step in the right direction, we’ve held our own in the county and we’re moving up in the conference. I think we’re finding that we’re able to hold on our when we compete with some of the bigger schools.
“Hopefully, something like this helps keep us moving.”